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Vectren agrees to settlement in Indiana gas explosion

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Vectren Corp. has agreed to pay $75,000 in penalties and take other steps in response to a natural gas explosion that destroyed a southern Indiana home and injured five people.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission will consider a settlement Wednesday that also requires Vectren to modify its procedures because of the Nov. 8, 2011, explosion in New Albany.

Vectren conceded in the settlement filed in August that a utility subsidiary failed to follow proper procedures for gas leaks before last year's explosion, The News & Tribune reported. Commission documents show workers didn't notify authorities until more than an hour after they struck a pipeline. By that time, the explosion had occurred.

The settlement has been agreed to by Vectren and the IURC's separate investigative agency, but still must be accepted by the commission.

"We will consider the settlement agreement. However, the commission may approve, modify or deny it based on its findings," commission spokeswoman Danielle McGrath said Monday.

A Vectren spokesman did not return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.

James Francis, director of engineering and asset management for Vectren, told the commission in a hearing Friday that the agreement "was a fair and reasonable resolution," the News & Tribune said.

Francis said workers tried to repair the breach instead of reporting it to Vectren. He said the utility began investigating the accident just a few days later and met with the pipeline subsidiary so similar situations could be avoided in the future.

The homeowners still can file legal action under the settlement.

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  1. Why not take some time to do some research before traveling to that Indiana town or city, and find the ones that are no smoking either inside, or have a patio? People like yourself are just being selfish, and unnecessarily trying to take away all indoor venues that smokers can enjoy themselves at. Last time I checked, it is still a free country, and businesses do respond to market pressure and will ban smoking, if there's enough demand by customers for it(i.e. Linebacker Lounge in South Bend, and Rack and Helen's in New Haven, IN, outside of Fort Wayne). Indiana law already unnecessarily forced restaurants with a bar area to be no smoking, so why not support those restaurants that were forced to ban smoking against their will? Also, I'm always surprised at the number of bars that chose to ban smoking on their own, in non-ban parts of Indiana I'll sometimes travel into. Whiting, IN(just southeast of Chicago) has at least a few bars that went no smoking on their own accord, and despite no selfish government ban forcing those bars to make that move against their will! I'd much rather have a balance of both smoking and non-smoking bars, rather than a complete bar smoking ban that'll only force more bars to close their doors. And besides IMO, there are much worser things to worry about, than cigarette smoke inside a bar. If you feel a bar is too smoky, then simply walk out and take your business to a different bar!

  2. As other states are realizing the harm in jailing offenders of marijuana...Indiana steps backwards into the script of Reefer Madness. Well...you guys voted for your Gov...up to you to vote him out. Signed, Citizen of Florida...the next state to have medical marijuana.

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